Sunday, October 31, 2010
I watched most of the John Stewart rally yesterday and found it mostly innocuous. It all had that air of superiority feel to it, in other words, nothing unexpected. "Sanity" certainly seems to be defined as something exactly equivalent to liberal orthodoxy. People who wear their patriotism on their sleeves, people who think there are important differences between the parties, these are the people to be scorned. Putting it another way, the whole thing was very low calorie, basically silly stuff. Harmless. In fact I thought Stewart's closing speech was also...basically unobjectionable, as he tried to balance criticism of both left and right. I wouldn't be surprised if a few of the people who came to his rally felt a little embarrassed about the signs or t-shirts they had showed up with.
One of the themes of the day's activities was the theme of "don't be mean to Muslims." Fair enough, as though Americans actually need the constant stream of reminders we get in this regard, but OK, whatever.
However, may I humbly point out that if you are trying to make the point that Muslims are just regular folks like us, your poster boy ought not to be Hamas and Salman Rushdie fatwa supporter Yusuf Islam (nee Cat Stevens)? I mean really. Talk about a dissonant note.
He has his own story, denying he supported the fatwa and claiming the Hamas support was a mistake, but you can thankfully see the video and read the transcript of the Rushdie business for yourself. His protests read much more like dancing around the technicalities than anything of substance. It's possible his feelings have "evolved", but it's something he needs to come very clean on with complete candor and honesty.
It takes more than just a wave of the hand from Jon Stewart -- whose judgment I wouldn't trust in these matters anyway -- to fix it.
See also, Roger L. Simon: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: Are They Pro-Islamofascist or Just Stupid?
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When saw, and subsequently posted on, the appearance of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) at Jon Stewarts' rally, I admit I thought maybe, just maybe, Jon Stewart had actually taken the matter seriously, looked into it, and discovered something I hadn't... Read More